Thursday, September 15, 2011


I often wonder how others in this profession reflect on their practice. How do we go about having those moments where we think about what we do? How do we evaluate them, assess them and then finally say yes that was good, it was bad, it was really bad, or it was the worst I have ever worked?

Recently I had a client tell me that they were not finding the process very helpful. I thought that was a straight forward, honest, blunt and probably accurate comment. I had just finished a busy day and was on call for an organisation to whom I contract. I have been on call non stop now for a long time. I was tired, very tired, but I felt obligated to take the call. I also know that, depending on the nature of the call some of them can present interesting challenges, but I know that I am often tuned in regardless of how tired I may be feeling. I need to say that waking up early in the morning when I am still waking up and attempt to sound interested when I am stark naked desperately trying to get dressed with one hand and sounding cool and in control so that I don’t further distress an already distressed client. I can remember feeling embarrassed as I hovered on one foot attempting to lower the weary leg into a large sleave which kind of resembled a singular trouser leg. I was so drowsy that I imagined the client witnessing this crazy act.

A part from the downright ludicrous such as the colleague who after returning from an overseas flight went straight to work and while with a client fell asleep. The client looking for self improvement at any level woke my colleague and told her that she just realised how boring she must be and that she needed to do something about that and as she was leaving thanked the worker for this valuable lesson. It just goes to show that if the client is focussed on success then it probably doesn’t matter what we do.

However a process of reflection is something worth building into our practice. There is something stimulating about considering the work you have done and rejoicing in the good work you have done. But there are times as was with the client mentioned above I wasn’t perhaps doing my best work.

We need to be open to the idea that perhaps we are not as focussed as we should be and that from time to time we need someone to remind us that the work we are doing is not up to scratch. This doesn’t have to be the client but can be another worker or observer. How often though do we feel uncomfortable with that feedback? How indignant do we become that someone could find fault with the work we are doing. How arrogant and unhelpful it is to assume the the work we do should not be critiqued or that it is perfect and therefore without fault. How are we to learn if we don’t offer ourselves up for criticism. It saddens me to see professionals so resistant to being critiqued. It is damaging to the profession, the worker and the client for us not to receive the reflection we need in order to improve our practice.

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